AUSTRALIA


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Being clear eyed and misty eyed about human rights and asylum seekers

8 Comments
05 October 2016 | Frank Brennan

Frank BrennanAustralia's policy is unique and unrepeatable by other nations because it requires that you be an island nation continent without asylum seekers in direct flight from the countries next door and that you have access to a couple of other neighbouring island nations which are so indigent that they will receive cash payments in exchange for warehousing asylum seekers and proven refugees, perhaps indefinitely. The policy over which Turnbull presides is not world best practice. It's a disgrace.


Inquiry into data use asks the wrong questions

3 Comments
05 October 2016 | Kate Galloway

MetadataThe Productivity Commission was charged in March to inquire into 'data availability and use'. The inquiry holds important implications for Australians because our personal information is collected and stored by business and government in nearly all our daily interactions. The inquiry's terms of reference however make a number of assumptions, making it look very much as though it will find that the benefits of making data available outweigh the costs. And those costs are likely to be our privacy.


Identity politics and the market

5 Comments
04 October 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Blurred image of young peopleIn political commentary liberal politics and identity politics are often presented as polar opposites. For supporters of liberal politics the relationship between the two is one between virtue and vice, rationality and emotion, the wise against the mob. I believe that the relationship is more complex, that identity politics shares the same stunted assumptions about personal and national identity as liberal politics, sees the self-interest of the latter, and wants to despoil it.


Mediscare blame obscures government's weaknesses

5 Comments
02 October 2016 | John Warhurst

Malcolm Turnbull with Mediscare ghost cutoutThe main message of the 2016 election review delivered recently at the National Press Club by Tony Nutt, the federal director of the Liberal Party, was that Turnbull only failed to have a convincing victory because of the 'Mediscare' by the Labor Party. It is a message that deflects attention from the current and past weaknesses of the government and the prime minister. It is like a football coach who after a loss or a narrow win blames his team's performance on the dirty tactics of the opposition.


Vulnerable people must be at the heart of welfare reforms

8 Comments
27 September 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Mother and childThere is much to welcome in the ideals spruiked in Minister Porter's proposed welfare reforms. Who could fail to be delighted if people are helped to support themselves, and the welfare bill is reduced as people no longer need support? The question left hanging is what drives these changes. Is the human welfare of our fellow Australians the goal towards which the budgetary changes are a means? Or are budgetary savings the goal to which the treatment of our fellow Australians will be a means?


Aboriginal art installation quickens ancient footprints

1 Comment
26 September 2016 | Jeremy Clarke

Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones' sculptureWiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones' piece is profoundly moving. At first glance it is little more than a quirky reconfiguring of the architectural footprint of the Garden Palace that burned to the ground on 22 September 1882, taking with it a collection of precious Indigenous relics. A more informed engagement however reveals that Jones has created a provocative re-imagining and, through this, a re-membering of Australian colonial contact history which has deep resonances for today.


Young man burned by Australia's detention hell

21 Comments
25 September 2016 | Lisa Stewart

Painting of screaming asylum seeker behind wireIn the early hours of Wednesday morning, 21 September 2016, a young asylum seeker was forcibly removed from the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre. With barely time to scramble his possessions together, he was taken away, placed on a plane and, along with four others, transferred to the high security detention facility on Christmas Island. Why? Because he's done something wrong? Because he's a criminal? No. Just because that's the way we now do things here.


Indecent asylum policy damages us all

10 Comments
20 September 2016 | Samuel Dariol

Peter Dutton with blood soaked hand stands on 'the world stage' and sings 'you should do it my way'. Cartoon by Fiona KatauskasIn the last week Turnbull has lauded, as the world's best refugee policy, a system that has resettled no refugees over three years. Dutton has stated that asylum seekers will continue to be processed in Nauru for decades, and described the Australian policy, of which detention on Nauru is part, as compassionate and effective. These comments follow recent reports by NGOs Save the Children and UNICEF, as well as the Australian Human Rights Commission, on offshore detention. Both urge an end to it.


Hoarding and its discontents

7 Comments
18 September 2016 | Brian Matthews

Hoarded magazinesWhen the skip arrived and a young bloke named Troy backed it into our driveway with insolent ease, I knew the game was up. Months of sporadic, amiable discussions had now reached a suddenly irrevocable conclusion. Our agenda - what to do with 'hoarded' papers and notes, drawers of never-to-be-worn-again clothes, children's picture books and abandoned Lego, decades old back copies of magazines - was called to order by a higher power and my filibustering and equivocations abruptly ended.


Battling the Pauline Hanson battler myth

12 Comments
15 September 2016 | Osmond Chiu

Pauline HansonIt is ironic that Hanson thrives on the perception that she is an authentic outsider against 'the system' when in fact she is part of that system. Think about how she is constantly given paid platforms by television networks. She hasn't been silenced by 'the system', her voice is heard and has been amplified. She is also no amateur, she is a professional and knows exactly what she is doing. She is not some 'battler' being picked on, and that needs to be emphasised.


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